Cold Weather Hunting Preparation
2017 is arriving right on schedule and with it the full wrath of winter. Winter can take on a variety of different meanings depending upon where you are in the Country. From bitterly cold temperatures, snow, and relentless wind in the high plains…to the mid-50’s and rain in the southern states. No matter where you live and where you hunt, winter time conditions can often be challenging for not only the wildlife in the area, but you as well. Cold weather hunting success requires knowledge, the right gear, and of course preparation!
Cold weather hunting exposes you to not only frigid temperatures but often wet conditions can be very taxing on the human body. As a matter of fact, if doesn’t take much exposure to the elements before our decision-making abilities start to become impaired, leading to poor decisions making. Exposure to a single digit or in some cases even negative degree wind chills may seem a little bit more brutal than say a 45-degree day in the south, it is all relative to what you and your body are used to. I am often amazed at how 30 degrees in the Midwest where it is damp is far colder than 30 degrees in a dry climate. If you are traveling to other parts of the country, keep this in mind. Point being, ensuring that you are both physically and mentally prepared to handle the tough conditions that come with cold weather hunting is not only a critical part of being successful in the field, but it is also an important part of staying safe and healthy as well.
Why We Do It
If you have spent much time hunting the frigid winter conditions, whether it is big game, predators or waterfowl, chances are that someone has asked you “Why do you go out in this weather, anyway?” Hey, you have to give it to them…it is a valid question! It is cold and typically very unpleasant and sometimes we have probably all wondered the same thing as we grab our cold weather gear and head toward the truck. The truth is that cold weather can offer the hunter some amazing opportunities to not only harvest big game like whitetails, mule deer, or caribou but to also spend time in the outdoors and witness nature at its finest. When the winter time conditions set in, and food sources become scarce, wildlife species from big game, waterfowl, predators and even songbirds often become very active, which can make for some exciting action and an enjoyable time in the field. If you can withstand the conditions, cold weather hunting can be one of the best times to be outdoors.
Cold Weather Tips & Hunting Gear
There are two aspects of cold weather hunting that you need to make sure you have covered before hitting the field. Preparation is critical in regards to the proper cold weather gear and making sure that you are physically prepared to handle the conditions. These needs can be satisfied by doing your homework and making sure that you have purchased the proper equipment that is rated to handle the extreme cold conditions that winter brings.
– Browning apparel such as the Hells Canyon Primaloft 4-1 Parka has many features that will keep you dry, warm and concealed while handling the winter conditions. Being able to regulate your body heat and maintaining your core temperature are all important aspects of cold weather hunting. Dressing in layers with a durable base layer is a must as well as ensuring that your extremities such as your head, hands and feet are covered and insulated are critical. Heat escapes faster through these areas than any other area of the body, so making sure that you have your beanie and gloves ready to roll, along with a good set of footwear. Make sure to stay away from cotton. Unlike synthetics, cotton does not wick away moisture, and does not insulate when it gets wet like wool does.
– The cold weather series from Woods N’ Stream, like the Mountain Ridge offers 2040 3m gram Thinsulate™ are all pieces of cold weather gear that are must haves when chasing big game or small game in cold weather. They also offer X-Static odor control to keep your hunt scent free. One of the first things to get cold when sitting in a tree stand is your feet and once they get cold the rest of the body seems to follow. If you’re focusing on your body being cold, you’re not able to mentally stay in the hunt and you certainly won’t enjoy it.
– As hunters, we probably don’t think as much about nutrition as we should, but when it comes to cold weather hunting and being exposed to the elements it is an often underrated piece of the puzzle. Being able to regulate and distribute your body heat is an important part of being able to handle cold weather hunting. Additionally, a person who is better physical condition can handle the stress and fatigue that cold weather hunting can cause better than someone who is in less than optimal shape. Keeping yourself hydrated when it is cold is critical, but we don’t get thirsty like we do in warmer temperatures. You need to make a conscious effort to drink plenty of fluids and add vital nutrients throughout the day.
Cold weather hunting can be challenging, and whether you realize it or not, puts a lot of strain on your body. One of the best ways to improve your ability to handle the conditions of cold weather hunting, aside from ensuring that you have the right cold weather gear is to work to ensure that your body is up for the challenge. The best way to ensure your body is up to the challenge is to be in the best physical condition you can be in, which is attained through proper diet and exercise. If you are looking to improve your stamina and your body’s ability to handle extreme conditions, you should consider looking into some of the products by Wilderness Athlete. Their line of protein and supplements will add an extra kick to your workout routine and help your body perform better under extreme conditions like cold weather hunting.
In the end, whether chasing the big game in the north or small game in the south, the stress of cold weather hunting can certainly take a toll on your body. However, if you take the time to make sure your body is in its most optimal condition, and you rely on your cold weather gear and apparel you should be ready to take on the challenge of cold weather hunting, and beat old man winter to the punch!